How’s this for a relic of the format wars? Guy at the Fremont Market wanted $20 for this Xbox 360 HD-DVD player. I mentioned the whole Blu-ray thing and suggested $2. He pointed out that it still plays standard DVDs, and held firm at $10. I shook my head and walked away.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Chris Lynch

    … but the Xbox 360 plays regular DVDs also :)

    • Todd Bishop


  • Guest

    Don’t knock it. I still use my Xbox HD DVD drive. I can leave a game disc in the main drive and use the HD DVD drive to play movies off regular DVDs. That labour savings is easily worth $10.

  • Josh

    Don’t forget that it upconverts the dvd!

    • Todd Hooper

       Only if you have an HDMI connection. Because otherwise….PIRACY!

    • Guest

      There’s no such thing as “upconverting,” Josh. DVDs are digital. You can’t take a 720×480 image, stretch it to 1920×1080, and call that improved. Would you buy a computer that promised to take your 128 kbps “CD-quality” MP3s and upconvert them to 320 kbps, promising you they’d sound better afterwards?

  • Avatar X

    The HD-DVD was quite superior, thanks to its practicality of having a lower cost to produce and yet all the features of Blu-ray at the time Sony won by bribing all the way in what probably will be the last Disc Format Wars. unless something unexpected happens..

    Microsoft could have easily made HD-DVD win if they had given it native Windows Support right away and made it the Xbox 360 media format. They just didn’t cared enough for it to win. if at all. 

    Ok, maybe the Native Windows Support right away would have been proven unfeasible because of the Anti-Trust oversight shadow. But integrating it in Xbox 360 was no problem. And even if that would have been their only move. I think there is a good chance it would had been enough for HD-DVD to have won. As it would had swayed the market faster. Not allowing for what it actually happened.

    • Anonymous

      I think Microsoft was smart *not* to bet the Xbox 360 on HD-DVD.  Sticking with a proven technology (DVD) gave the 360 an significant cost advantage vs. the PS3 and resulted in a superior user experience in some ways.  (Due to a disc data transfer rate that is roughly double that of the PS3, Xbox 360 games do not need disc pre-installation.  This also means Microsoft can build lower-priced consoles with flash-based storage.)

      Of course, you could also argue that Blu-Ray “saved” the PS3, since home theater enthusiasts helped develop and sustain the product in the first couple of years when many gamers sat on the sidelines. 

      But Microsoft and Sony were in very different positions. Sony had a dominant market share that it could leverage to gain adoption of a new format; Microsoft was a distant number 3 and needed to make every decision count. Introducing a new, higher cost, disc format that needed to be evangelized would have just added friction to the adoption of the platform, and if HD-DVD failed to catch on, it would have been an albatross for the 360 for years into the future.

      • Avatar X

        You bring up some good points. HD-DVD in the Xbox 360 only really solved 2 things. 1 being increasing the data space few games were going to need to not go mult-dvd. And the other offering up upscaled DVD’s for those with HDTV’s.  It really did not offered up much advantages back then.

  • Billy Bob
  • Christopher Budd

    HD DVD?

    Bah, Betamax, all the way!

  • Michael Gray

    The real winner of the Blu-ray/HD-DVD wars:  Netflix, iTunes, Hulu Plus, etc.  Had the war never occured, it would have a much stronger foothold today.  But instead people are just “going diskless!”   Blu-ray has had to add “UltraViolet” just to compete!

  • Rodney Bullington

    You should of bought the clown face lamp in the background..

Job Listings on GeekWork